1930's - Blue and Calvary Yellow
The 1920's were ushered out with the onset of the depression, but due to the many accomplishments of the organization, the State Police had become deeply entrenched as one of the most respected police agencies in the nation.
The quick rise of the reputation and status of the organization could be directly attributed to the leadership, foresight, and wisdom of the Superintendent, Colonel H. Norman Schwarzkopf, his capable staff, and the dedicated, untiring efforts of the troopers on the road.
They had devoted themselves to nine years of service, courtesy, integrity, ability, and discretion that would pave the way for the members who followed in their footsteps. The citizens of New Jersey had come to look upon the New Jersey State Trooper as a gentleman devoted to the interests and welfare of the state. The 1930's, the State Police, with 208 men, were responsible for policing over 7,000 square miles of rural area of the state. The large, almost unmanageable, patrol area required troopers to be spread in small groups, sometimes only three to five men per substation.
This made liaison, guidance, and personal supervision extremely difficult. Therefore, the high morale of the members was paramount in insuring the proper functioning of the individual trooper on the road.
The organization relied on honor and integrity to guard against corruption and temptation and in accomplishing the successful termination of many tedious and difficult tasks.
Continuing into the 1930's, it was not uncommon for troopers to work twelve to sixteen hours a day without a day off, sometimes several weeks at a time to accomplish their mission to protect and serve.
The unusual hardships and hazards of being a trooper were not without a price. By 1930, only nine short years since the inception of the State Police, seventeen men had either met death or had been permanently disabled.
The duties and responsibilities of the State Police in the early 1930's had not significantly changed since the inception of the organization in 1921. The rural areas of the state were almost entirely dependent upon the State Police for general police services and protection.
This included furnishing protection to farm areas against theft of livestock, crops, and farm machinery. Chicken thievery was a very serious problem; but in 1933, with the inception of a statewide plan overseen by the State Police for registering tattooed poultry, the problem was reduced to a minimum. Cattle stealing became the next big problem facing the farmers and the troopers patrolling the farm areas.
In 1930, legislation was passed which created a Detective Bureau within the State Police. For the first time, specialists were selected from the uniform branch to be responsible for the investigation of major crimes. Uniform troopers would continue to conduct initial investigations and were many times assigned to assist the Detective Bureau with the case until it was completed.
As reported in the 1931 State Police Annual Report in selecting personnel for the Bureau, the following traits and beliefs were taken into consideration: “A real detective is born rather than made. They must have a gift for remembering facts, faces, and names; they must be observant, self-reliant, and possess good common sense.”
In another move to professionalize the fight against crime, the Central Bureau of Identification was formed in 1929. During the first year, the Bureau primarily functioned as a service for the State Police.
On July 30, 1930, the services of the Bureau were expanded to include other law enforcement agencies. The Bureau was renamed the State Bureau of Identification (SBI). The Bureau was responsible for collecting and filing fingerprints of arrested persons and for receiving and filing reports on missing and wanted persons.
Additionally, a Photographic Unit within the Bureau developed and filed the photographs of criminals and photographs of latent prints taken by fingerprint experts. The S.B.I. continued to expand throughout the 1930's to include other scientific services including a scientific crime lab, civil identification, and the collecting of crime statistics. Troop Identification Bureaus were also established within the S.B.I. to take fingerprints, photograph prisoners, and collect and preserve evidence at crime scenes.
To combat a wave of car thefts, the Automobile Identification Bureau, was enacted into law in 1929. The Bureau was responsible for filing records of stolen cars, the investigation of stolen car rings, and the tracing and recovery of stolen vehicles. During the first year in existence, with the cooperation of other law enforcement agencies, the Bureau recovered over 500 stolen cars.
The Statistical Bureau was established to file records of all arrests, investigations, and other activities of the organization. The Bureau also exchanged bulletins and flyers with other police agencies.
In 1930, the New Jersey State Police Statewide Police Teletype System was developed to provide instant communications between law enforcement agencies in New jersey and other states. The teletype system continued to expand, and the teletype proved to be very useful for broadcasting alarms and police information.
In 1931, the License Bureau, was established to process applicants for private detective licenses and the licensing of police commissions and the registration of firearms.
The third primary function of the State Police in the 1930's was to properly supervise and control traffic. In 1930, there was an estimated 17,000 miles of state, county, and township roadways and over 800,000 registered vehicles in the state.
With New Jersey being a corridor state and a resort area, many out-of-state vehicles traveled New Jersey’s roadways. The Lincoln Highway (US Route 1) between Philadelphia and New York was reported by the US Department of Commerce to be the most traveled in the country.
To compound the problem of traffic enforcement, there were few speed signs posted on our highways, and New Jersey’s speed limit was generally 5 to 10 mph less than its neighboring states. This added to the confusion and caused many complaints from out-of-state drivers.
On January 1, 1939, the Traffic Bureau was created. The Bureau was responsible for compiling accident statistics, conducting studies of congestion, accident causes, and the effectiveness of current safety measures.
Additionally, the Bureau would train and provide personnel with the latest traffic techniques. The 28 Substations continued to keep their own accident ratio maps, and Troop Headquarters also continued to keep maps to the troop area.
Mark O. Kimberling was appointed second Superintendent of the State Police in 1936. He had previously served as Deputy Superintendent from 1923 to 1929, when he accepted the position as Trenton State Prison Superintendent.
Colonel Kimberling was successful in getting the passage of legislation that would increase the strength of the Division by 100 troopers. He was also instrumental in having legislation passed that would give members tenure of office after serving five years. Prior to that time, members of the organization had no job security.
In 1936, the aviation activities of the State Police were in its infancy stages of development. Due to the budgetary constraints, the purchase of an airplane was not feasible. Nevertheless, approximately 100 hours were flown with borrowed aircraft from other agencies which allowed traffic control, photograph and emergency missions to be conducted. These types of missions continued throughout the remainder of the decade.
A Bureau of Crime Prevention was established in November 1936. The Bureau’s major accomplishments were in the study and formation of community organizations for the prevention of juvenile delinquency. Visits were made to schools, and statistics on arrest data on juvenile cases were compiled. The Lindbergh Kidnaping Case, which occurred on March 2, 1932, was the most celebrated and widely-publicized case of the decade and perhaps the history of the State Police. The case received international and national attention for several years and culminated with the conviction and later execution of Bruno Richard Hauptman on March 31, 1936.
The successful conclusion of the Lindbergh case not only involved every member of the New Jersey State Police, but almost every police agency in the United States and on foreign lands. It was through the diligent and patient police work and the cooperation given by the public that the case was solved. The trial lasted 32 days during which 109 state witnesses and 53 defense witnesses testified.
On June 10, 1939, the State Police was assigned to its first real security detail for the King and Queen of England on an historic visit to New Jersey. Approximately 250 troopers participated in this detail which included railroad security from Weehawken to Trenton and motor vehicle escorts.
The decade of the 1930's was not without its problems for the State Police. Most were as a result of the Depression which caused a substantial cutback in State Police manpower and the subsequent closing of substations.
Nevertheless, the organization made many strides forward, instituting new Bureaus and becoming more of a service organization to better serve the people of New Jersey.
However, the primary mission of the State Police was still to provide the best possible police protection for its rural inhabitants. The prevention and detection of crime and traffic enforcement was successfully accomplished under the prevailing conditions.